Friday, March 24, 2006

Shockingly unqualified developers

Over the last week, we have been interviewing developers for a short-term consulting gig. We need someone who can hit the ground running, and be useful right off. Our needs are pretty straightforward; we need someone who can write some sql scripts, and hopefully help us with some database tuning, and someone who knows their way around a group of business objects designed using object oriented principles.

The first guy had 14 years of experience, and the consulting firm said they were going to use him as an application architect. We gave him a simple db schema, and asked for a couple of scripts. This guy, with 14 years of experience in developing, and tons of sql and oracle experience, couldn't write a simple query using three related tables!

The next guy had 10 years of experience, and tons of consulting gigs, using C, VB, C++, C#, and VB.Net. Dude couldn't tell me the difference between inheritance and interface implementation. I asked him what an interface was, and he never said the word contract.

What is the deal with this? Where have all of the decent developers gone?


Anonymous said...

Welcome to the land of management..where you find out just how difficult it is to find qualified, reliable employees.

Jason Olson said...

You hit it right on the button there. I've been doing some interviewing myself at the company I work at. Oh, My, GOODNESS!!!

On one phone screening I gave, I asked the difference between an interface and a class (he said he had extensive (4+ years) experience writing object-oriented systems in C#), and he said he didn't understand the question. I elaborated by asking him to explain the difference between the "interface" and "class" keyword in C#. He was silent for a while and the first phrase out of his mouth (no lie) was "Well, User Interfaces aren't at the code level like classes...". User Interfaces?!?

There was also a SQL "DBA" that I was interviewing for a SQL Server DBA position (he had "extensive" SQL Server DBA experience (going from 6.5 to 2000)), and he hadn't heard of SQL Profiler. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that I _literally_ asked him, point blank, "Is there a SQL Profile packaged with Microsoft SQL Server that you are aware of?" and he answered "No".

I'll tell you one thing, it makes me want to go into contracting with some of the money these guys are making :P.

Anonymous said...

I'm years late to this blog but felt like adding my two sense in case someone ever reads it later: I think that Jason Olsen probably did not explain himself well if the guy confused the C# keyword interface with the a user interface, also that DBA might have been answering him appropriately if he wasn't aware of a profiling tool within a microsoft product. I used SQL server for two years and never used some of the functionality it had, but I did use the profiler a few times but not that much.

Sure, we all hate those unqualified hacks that lie about their experience but sometimes it's up to the person interviewing such people to recognize talent and not how much knowledge they have acquired or been exposed to in their past.

So if you hire bad people, that's on you.